Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Oslo birding 2016

It was good to get out today. It was about -9C with a very thin layer of snow but enough to give a true wintery feeling. Due to a fresh wind there was surprisingly little ice on lakes or in the bays at Fornebu.

I had no particularly scarce birds but it was good to get the year list going. Maridalen was quiet except for continuing good numbers of Common Crossbills that were in mixed sex flocks so do not appear to have started breeding yet despite much singing.

At Fornebu the Bearded Tits were to be heard but unsurprisingly not to be seen and I had fresh prints of a Water Rail but no sight nor sound of the actual bird. There was also a single Reed Bunting feeding on the reed heads. Redpolls are around in good numbers this year and I had some Lesser and Mealy’s although no Arctic which are being reported here and there.

Scarcest bird, or at least given location and time of year, was a couple of Whooper Swans on the fjord off Fornebu. There were associating with a family of Mute Swans and were I think desperately hungry. When I noticed the swans the Mutes made straight for me hoping for bread and the Whoopers (an adult and a youngster) followed them. The adult though soon thought better of it and headed out into the fjord but the youngster continued towards me. Despite the Mutes frequently trying to chase it off it would not leave them and although I had no food to offer they came right up to me. The young Whooper was often calling and was answered by the adult further out but the adult was too wary to come in close. The youngster looked to be a small possibly runt individual and I wonder if it has had problem migrating and one of the parents has remained with it. It will be interesting to see if they end up joining the large numbers of Mute Swans that congregate and get fed in nearby Sandvika.

 I went to the tip at Alna looking for interesting gulls (a Caspian was found over Xmas) but had to make do with Leif the leucistic Herring Gull.

In the garden the sparrow flock has reduced as lack of food whilst I was in England has pushed some birds to search for food further away but I have filled up the feeders so can hopefully tempt them back. 
when I first the Whooper Swans they were close to land with the Mutes
the adult was wary whereas the youngster wanted to stay with the Mutes

but it frequently was chased away

whilst the adult was a long way out. The two birds frequently called whilst the Mutes true to their name were quiet

the young Whooper was not to be scared off and followed the Mute family

eventually coming very close as the Mute came right up to me hoping for food

it came out of the water showing itself to be unringed unlike the four Mutes

here with the wary adult in the background

a portrait
the Mutes would never leave the young Whooper alone for long though and there was quite a bit of posturing

here both an adult and a young Mute Swan went for the Whooper but stopped as soon as it had moved just a few metres away
A Lesser Redpoll (brunsisik). Note the warm colouration and buffy wingbars. The two white lines on the back are not considered typical of this (sub)species but there is much variation which is why it will be so much better when they are all lumped
A Common (Mealy) Redpoll (gråsisik). It lacks the warm colouration and has pure white wingbars
Reed Bunting (sivspurv)
This male Teal (krikkand) was at Fornebu but no Kingfisher today
This Grey Heron was searching for fish but the ice on the edges must have made it very difficult for the Kingfisher if it is indeed still in the area
the leucistic Herring Gull (gråmåke))

this male Siskin (grønnsisik) showed well in the garden

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